REVIEW: “Adjuva” by Arkady Martine

Review of Arkady Martine, “Adjuva”, Luna Station Quarterly 33 (2018): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Since starting SFFReviews, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to first lines of short stories. The first line of this one is excellent:

Michel dreams the dead at Antioch again.

Every single part of this makes me want to know more — who is Michel? What does it mean to “dream the dead”? Is Michel at Antioch, or the dead? And why is Antioch important? And what does it mean, he is doing this again? Has he done it before? What happened then?

A very good way to start a story.

The rest of the story continues good: Is it a time-travel story? Is it a ghost story? It is both, and neither, but in the end what I find mattered most to me was the relationship between Michel and Thomas. Their life clearly hasn’t been either easy or straightforward. But that they are still together after all that they have been through, the sheer amount of time that they have lived through together, I found sweet, and heartwarming. There is a depth of history underpinning the story, a sense of the vastness of time. It is a story that made me glad to have read it.

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